Arizona has no shortage of restaurants for wine lovers. According to Wine Spectator Magazine, there are at least 59 restaurants when diners can enjoy perfectly paired food and wine across the state.

Started in 1981, Wine Spectator keeps a running list of restaurants where the wine list stands out for offering an especially good selection, food pairings and value.

Each year, restaurants are added and subtracted from the list so customers can find up-to-date recommendations of where to find the best restaurants for wine.

This year, Arizona has a total of 59 restaurants listed in the 2020 Restaurant Awards, with restaurants being awarded in two categories: the Award of Excellence and the more competitive Best Award of Excellence.

Eight Arizona restaurants join this year’s list of the state’s best spots to enjoy dinner and a glass of wine. 

These Arizona restaurants won awards

Inside the new Mastro’s City Hall Steakhouse in Scottsdale. (Photo: Mastro’s Restaurants)

Arizona’s best restaurants for wine can be found, along with an interactive map and descriptions of each restaurant and menu, on Wine Spectator’s website and inside the print issue published Aug. 31.

From the eight newcomers to the list, two restaurants earned the competitive distinction of Best Award of Excellence. This category includes restaurants with wine lists of typically 350 or more selections that “display excellent breadth across multiple winegrowing regions and/or significant vertical depth of top producers, along with superior presentation,” according to Wine Spectator. 

Those restaurants in Arizona are:

  • Maple & Ash in Scottsdale.
  • Mastro’s Steakhouse in Scottsdale.

The six other restaurants made the category of Award of Excellence. This category includes restaurants with wine list of at least 90 selections that “feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers, along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style,” according to Wine Spectator.

Those Arizona restaurants are:

  • Che Ah Chi in Sedona.
  • Nineteen 86 Steakhouse in Glendale.
  • Primo in Tucson.
  • Sel in Scottsdale.
  • Shugrue’s Restaurant & Bar in Lake Havasu City.
  • Shula’s Steakhouse in Phoenix.

How are the restaurants selected?

Interior of Maple & Ash in Scottsdale. (Photo: Michael Chow/The Republic)

In order to enter the running for the Wine Spectator awards, restaurants must apply every year. Applications cost between $375 and $475 and restaurant owners must include a current wine list with a minimum of 90 selections, a dinner menu and a cover letter detailing the storage, pricing and other details about the wine program. 

If a restaurant makes the list one year, the owners must reapply the next year with an up-to-date menu and wine list in order to be considered for renewal. 

Once applications are submitted, judges review them and determine information such as which wine making regions are best represented by each menu, which food styles the restaurant specializes in and how well the wines pair with the food. 

Once the judges review the materials, they then can approve a restaurant for one of three categories, the Awards of Excellence, the Best Awards of Excellence or the top level Grand Award Winners. 

Arizona’s restaurants fall into the first two categories and there are no Grand Award winners in the state. 

Find a complete list of all the winners in Arizona and around the world at

Reach the reporter at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @tirionmorris, on Facebook at Tirion Rose and on Instagram at tirionrose. 

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